Posts Tagged ‘Choosing Ireland’
After a busy week in Brazil and China on the International Study Trip, respectively, my colleague Roisin and I are now back in the “real world” in Dublin. With the MBA students still on Spring Break (and indeed some still in Brazil and China) this is a time for us to start focusing in more detail on the MBA programme 2013/2014.
This is always an exciting time for us, planning, keeping, chopping and changing, organising and indeed meeting applicants and participants for next year. As we speak, I am drafting up my first communication to the 5 (maybe 7?) students coming to the UCD Smurfit MBA programme on exchange in September and indeed also to those who have already confirmed that they are ready to start the MBA Programme fulltime in August. Happy and exciting days ahead!!
- Rikke Budolfsen, MBA Programme Manager
This is my first attempt at having a consistent blog, so I hope you all bare with me. Let me first start off by stating that I have had this entry started since the first week of the programme, and it is only now that I am able to complete it. This is pretty indicative of what life is like in the MBA. There is always lots of work, group meetings, and even more readings. Now, coming from a corporate background the work and volume of meetings are commonplace. As for the readings, that is an entirely new ballgame! Having been 5 years removed from my undergrad I did not expect this, it consumes a good portion of the “free time” I can muster.
But I digress, back to the point of this blog: to share my experience of a Canadian coming to university in Dublin. With that said, it is best to start off at the beginning of my time here in Dublin.
I landed in Dublin, on a surprisingly sunny and warm Sunday morning in August (what I now know is even more rare than I initially thought). As I sat on the bus passing the River Liffey, it dawned on me… “I’m here”. Now as theatrical as this may sound, this was several months in the making. From researching MBA programmes, to writing the ever popular GMAT (which still haunts my dreams), to the long and arduous application forms. It is a process which takes months to do, and I had successfully accomplished it.
It is now 1 month since we arrived in Ireland. What a month! Looking back it is quite amazing how much can happen in just 30 days!
On arrival, Dublin was a foreign place with foreign people for my wife and I coming from South Africa. Today, we already have a local pub and diner, and I can quite confidently tell you the names and nationalities of all 40 of my full time MBA classmates, who I now call friends.
How did we move so quickly from feeling like foreigners to feeling at home? I can only attribute it to something quite special about the Irish culture and the Smurfit School in particular.
Our prior knowledge of Irish culture extended as far as the Irish pubs back in Johannesburg, renowned for their jovial character. I previously attributed this to the ale consumed in the pubs, but I now see it more as an outworking of the lively and social way of life lead by most Irish people. We could not have guessed the state of the economy through our interaction with the Irish people. Be it from an offer of the estate agent to store our bags for us, the solicitor who asked us to just drop the 10euro we were short in the post box sometime, or the ‘out of country’ lady writing down her full lineages contact details if we were ever to be in the area. The Irish are a welcoming people.
This ‘not wanting to disappoint’ attitude of the Irish does come with some risk however, as we were warned in the MBA foundation week. If an Irish person advises that it is a 5 minute walk somewhere, it is probably closer to 15 minutes, and if it is mentioned to be a ‘long’ 5 minute walk, it is closer to 30 minutes.
The Smurfit School for its part is particularly good at assisting foreign students to relocate and integrate. They do need to be, as 65% of our MBA class are international students, coming from all continents excluding Antarctica and Australasia. A specific highlight of my short time here has definitely been the foundation week that the business school holds for full time MBA students before the start of lectures. This provided valuable time for our diverse 40 person MBA class to get to know one another in a social setting and quickly turn acquaintances into friendships.
The course work so far has lived up to its reputation of being challenging and stimulating, and the external talks and events have been high class. Of particular interest to me has been the personal development focus of the Smurfit course and I look forward to much self discovery ahead.
Although it is still early days and the assignments are only starting to pile up, I can quite confidently say that I am looking forward to the coming 11 months, if the 1st is anything to go by.
-Neil Krige, FTMBA 2012/13
While having lunch today with a few classmates, Michael (the MBA LDP Manager) joined our table and asked how we were doing. All three of us laughed.
Is it because we’re really happy that we’re doing the MBA?
Is it because we needed the adrenaline and positive hormones we got from the laugh to ease our stress?
Rani, who was sitting with us, remarked, “One of the biggest myths in doing the MBA is that you’re going to have free time.” And I agree with him 100%. I thought I would take some time off working on a full-time job and enrich myself intellectually at a ‘normal’ pace. I have been proven wrong in a few instances . But I think most of us still think we made the right choice to do our MBA..
Here’s why I think I’ve (still) made the right choice by taking an MBA:
1. Special campus for graduate students
a. Dropped by the student union to get some used books for class a few weeks ago and walking through the throngs of young students, I felt very thankful that the MBA is housed in a campus for graduate students. It feels different culturally, intellectually and makes studying feel more serious in the more peaceful and quiet environment.
2. Case studies, thinking
a. I love the intellectual challenge posed in analyzing and breaking apart the cases for most of the classes. This is apart from the obvious lessons and motivational values that I get from reading about these great companies (just to name a few: Ideo, Honda, Cemex).
3. Classmates and teamwork amongst the bigger group
a. The experience and maturity of the classmates, with such diverse backgrounds. I have learned so much from them and find that I fit in well with the group, as well as finding so much benefit in the conversations and reflections between classmates that I believe I wouldn’t find in a cohort with too little or even no working experience.
b. Sincere and kind classmates. I couldn’t say this more. This morning, I spilt some coffee on the carpet. I went to the restroom to get some tissue to wipe it up, but came back realizing that Lien had already wiped it. It’s small thoughtful things done by classmates to help each other that makes school much less stressful and makes it definitely bearable and something to look forward to.
c. We have come together as a team in great ways. It started off from the mandatory team building, the compulsory groups set by MBA office, and now we are comfortable enough to band up for reading groups.
So if you’re thinking of doing an MBA, think about why you would want to do it. For me, it’s mainly the intellectual growth, but the two other points really add to the positive experience in the school.
- Nur Zahira M Sukran, FT MBA 2012/13